One website that has interesting indoor play structures is www.cedarworks.com. This website has Rhapsody indoor play equipment. It includes beds, play houses, and other things that kids can play with and climb on inside. They are wooden structures that can be custom designed. There are bunk beds with slides and ladders. They are very interesting structures that look like a lot of fun. The picture to the left shows an example of one of the beds. I like particular one because of the different aspects it includes. I like the various parts to climb and I like the slide. It’s also nice to have the space underneath for the child to play in to use his/her imagination. The website has various other designs for beds like this. Some are very busy like this one, but there are simpler models and the company will make custom designs as well. There are other structures and play houses available and they have similar features.
Another website that has a lot of strong information and helpful toys is called www.sillygoosetoys.com. This site has various pages for all age groups. They are broken down by age group and type of toy. The website has everything from ride on toys to smaller toys and the prices are reasonable. I like this website because not only does it give a picture, price, and description of the toy, but it also describes why it enhances gross motor skills. For example the jump ropes to the right are $10.45 and this is the description the website gives: Jump around with this classic, confetti colored jump rope. A classic playground toy for kids of all ages for generations. A great way to improve coordination, balance, and cardiovascular fitness plus they are so fun. Will not kink so no handles are needed! Washable and color fast. Made of Nylon. Each sold separately in assorted colors. Measures 16 feet long.
After looking over the spark website it is obvious that their main focus is the business aspect of it. They have programs oriented to different age groups. I just looked at early childhood since that is what we are focusing on in our project. There are four phases if you buy the package for your teachers and school. The first is the curriculum which is developed for that age group and designed to be used with their equipment. The next phase is training. Spark will come to your school and train your teachers in this method for you. Then there is the equipment phase where you learn to incorporate the equipment into the curriculum. The final phase is follow up where spark comes back and sees how their program is going. The prices of this are quite expensive and can be found at http://www.sparkpe.org/early-childhood/program-prices/.
On the Spark website as far as I can tell you cannot order a single piece of equipment. Instead they have packages that you can order that have different amounts of materials into them. Each package corresponds with the educational unit that you purchase.
This website is kind of similar to ours but they are offering the entire package. They are going in and training teachers on what needs to be done so that the product that they are putting out there is being used in the best way. Doing workshops like this may be something that this project could look at in the future. It may be interesting to assess the need of the community on a whole package deal like this and see if centers would be interested in it.
If you would like to learn more please visit sparkpe.org.
The website letsmove.gov is a representation of what Michelle Obama is doing in the fight against obesity. The website talks about the facts about the prevalence of obesity increasing as well as ways to stay active and healthy. Michelle Obama also came out with a new way to look at the food pyramid which is my plate. Myplate is simple and easy to use since all you need t do is look at the plate and figure out what you and your children should be eating. Another really cool tool that the website has is a playground/park locator. On the Let’s Move outside page there is a link to another page where you can enter your zip code and it will show you a list of playgrounds and outdoor areas that you and your children can use to get moving. The website encourages parents and family to join the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge. Each age group has a different amount of activity that they need to complete and they then report back online about how they did each day. Once they reach the goal of the challenge they receive an award. It is a great way to encourage children and families to being eating healthier and moving more. If you would like more information please visit the website https://www.presidentschallenge.org/challenge/active/index.shtml.
Also, don’t forget about Michelle Obama’s website www.letsmove.gov.